14Mar

Board of Supervisors Makes More Funding Available for Crisis Housing for Homeless Families

Los Angeles, CA—Today, Supervisor Janice Hahn and Supervisor Sheila Kuehl offered a commonsense motion to increase the funding available for crisis housing for homeless families in LA County.

Right now, LA County uses CalWorks funds provided by the State of California for housing services for homeless families. Until now, that funding has been divided between funding for crisis housing (short-term housing for families usually in hotel rooms), and permanent housing.  While both of these forms of housing support are important, the funding for crisis housing has run out more quickly than the funding for permanent housing—primarily because of difficulty securing permanent housing due to LA County’s low vacancy rate.  This has meant that while crisis housing has run out of funding, millions of dollars in “permanent housing funds” have gone untouched.

Supervisor Hahn’s motion will remove the current restriction on funding use and allow the entire pot of funding to be used for both crisis housing and permanent housing for CalWorks families. This will make millions of dollars available immediately for crisis funding use.

“This is commonsense,” said Supervisor Hahn. “With this motion we are removing the restrictions that prevented the County from doing what we really want to do – which is to help those families who are really in need of crisis housing right now.”

Every night, more than eight hundred families are homeless in Los Angeles County. Some of these families have already accessed homeless service centers, and are desperately trying to locate and secure permanent housing. In Los Angeles County, vacant affordable housing is becoming more and more difficult to locate – estimates have identified the vacancy rate at less than 2 percent in some cities according to the Casden Real Estate Economic Forecast 2016 Multifamily Report.

Unlike emergency shelters, which must be obtained nightly, crisis housing can be secured for months at a time, and provides safety and stability for families searching for permanent housing. On average, permanent housing searches can take anywhere from three to nine months to complete. Funding made available for crisis housing is often inadequate and rarely meets the actual need.

“People can’t think about going to a job interview tomorrow when they are sleeping with their kids in their car tonight,” continued Supervisor Hahn. “Until we can move people into permanent housing, we need to make crisis housing available to allow struggling families time to put their lives back together.”

Representatives from homeless service providers from across LA County came to the Board meeting to voice their support for this motion including representatives from Harbor Interfaith, Whole Child, Special Service for Groups, and the Rescue Mission.

The motion passed with unanimous support from the Board.